News Releases

OCTOBER 22, 2018

Follett Challenge Launches 2019 Contest

Acclaimed children’s author Kwame Alexander will serve as judge, plus make personal visit to Grand Prize-winning school

The Follett Challenge launches its eighth annual contest today and this year’s entrants will have additional incentive to capture the Grand Prize. In addition to winning $60,000 in Follett products and/or services, the winning school will receive a personal visit from Kwame Alexander, one of the country’s most acclaimed and innovative children’s book authors, as part of the award celebration.

Alexander, a New York Times best-selling author and Newbery Medalist, also will serve as a judge for the 2019 Follett Challenge, which is open now for entries through Dec. 14.

Follett again will reward a total of $200,000 USD in products and/or services to schools/districts with innovative educational programs that teach 21st-century skills to students. All public and private K-12 schools/districts in the United States, Canada, and Australia are eligible to apply.

The contest’s first seven years has recognized schools of all sizes and demographics. Alaska’s Tudor Elementary School, part of the Anchorage School District, won the 2018 Grand Prize. The K-6 school, with 346 students, was honored for its “Young Global Citizens” program, which showcases what it means for their students to be global citizens, how it impacts their learning, their perspectives on the world, and the impacts they can have on it.

“Winning the Follett Challenge has been a validating motivation for our students that the world recognizes children can be change makers as young global citizens,” said Michelle Carton, librarian, Tudor Elementary School. “The passion to do more, learn more, and be more is a driving force thanks to Follett’s gracious award.”

Two semifinalists and 10 “People’s Choice” winners also were honored in the 2018 Follett Challenge, including schools in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, and Texas. For a complete look at all the Follett Challenge winners over the years, visit

Follett Challenge entrants must complete an online application and submit a video describing their program outlining how it has made a positive impact on their school. The contest rewards groundbreaking educational programs by seeking applications illustrating critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration. Submissions are open to all K-12 educators and Parent Teacher Organizations.

Three semifinalists are again to be selected — one each from the elementary, middle and high school categories — and will earn $30,000 prizes. The Grand Prize winner, to be selected from the three semifinalists, receives an additional $30,000, plus a visit from Kwame Alexander. Ten $8,000 prizes will be awarded to People’s Choice winners, which are those schools receiving the highest number of online votes from the public for their submitted videos.

Eighty percent of an entrant’s score will be based on the judges’ evaluation of the entry, with the remaining 20 percent based on the number of votes generated for the video.

“Since the inception of the Follett Challenge in 2011, we have received nominations for an incredible number of influential programs and met so many inspiring educators and students,” said Britten Follett, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Follett School Solutions. “We know there are many more innovative programs out there, so we eagerly anticipate what schools and districts will be entering for our 2019 contest. And we think it’s pretty cool that Kwame Alexander will be joining us at the Grand Prize-winning school celebration. The kids simply light up in his presence.”

Follett added there are vast resources on the Follett Challenge website to help entrants get started when they’re ready to move forward with their submission.

Key 2019 Follett Challenge dates are:
•    Oct. 22, 2018:    Contest formally launches; entries open
•    Dec. 14, 2018:    Entries close
•    Jan. 21, 2019:    People’s Choice voting begins
•    Jan. 25, 2019:    People’s Choice voting closes
•    Feb. 27, 2019:    Semifinalists and 10 People’s Choice video winners announced
•    April 24, 2019:    Grand-prize winner announced

For more information about the Follett Challenge, visit

[To see Kwame Alexander give his personal take on being involved with the eighth annual Follett Challenge, see this 90-second video:]

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